Best driver? Max Verstappen - No contest. The most dominant performance by a driver in F1 history. Sure, he's had an amazing car, but there were so many races (Dutch GP, Las Vegas) where everything was thrown at him and he still pulled through every single time. Also his gap to Pérez is astronomical.
Best young driver? Of course, Oscar Piastri - I was aware he had a great reputation from his junior career, but I did not expect him to take the fight to Norris in the way he did when McLaren got their car to the front of the field. He's still got a few things to learn in terms of his race pace, but overall he's already an excellent driver who I'm definitely betting on to become a future WDC.
Biggest surprise? Strange as it sounds, Lando Norris. Lando has always been a highly rated driver, but I was always curious to see if he could compete the likes of George Russell and Charles Leclerc in more or less equal machinery. This season we finally got an answer, and it's a resounding yes. Still, he does seem a bit emotional an error-prone at times, relatively speaking. That could be a disadvantage once Piastri starts wrapping his head around tyre management.
Most disappointing driver? Tempting though it might be to go for Nyck de Vries, he drove less than half a season and was, in retrospect, set up to fail from the start. Instead, my biggest disappointment is Kevin Magnussen. This was his sixth season with Haas and yet he got frequently outqualified and outraced by Nico Hülkenberg, who returned to the sport after several years of absence. Magnussen, like Haas as a whole, just seems to be in nowhere territory at the moment.
Race of the season? The Las Vegas Grand Prix - This was the race weekend I was the least hyped for, and especially after the free practice farce and the boring quali, I had no hope this would turn out any good. But damn, the race made up for all of it. Constant battling all over the field, with drivers actually being able to fight back after being overtaken. Then there was the tight 3-way battle for victory, where Verstappen showed his class, but also Charles Leclerc pulled a second place out of seemingly nowhere.
Overtake of the season? Charles Leclerc on Pérez in lap 35 of the Las Vegas Grand Prix. It's a toss-up between both of Leclerc's overtakes on Pérez, but his first one wins it for me because it came out of absolutely nowhere. One of the few overtakes in the entire season that actually got me screaming.
Best wheel to wheel battle? Definitely Sainz holding the 2 Mercedes back by means of Norris during the Singapore Grand Prix. One of the smartest, most hard-earned victories I've seen while watching F1. Sainz really has a knack for reading a race, which partially compensates for his slower pace compared to Leclerc.
I'll add two more categories of my own:
Most surprising team of the season: McLaren - Has to be. Aston Martin were a surprise too, but they were already looking good in winter testing and kind of dropped down the order as the season went along. But McLaren making a turnaround from arguably the worst car on the grid to, at times, the second-best team out there was something I never saw coming. Probably the biggest positive change in pace I've seen from a team during a season since I started watching F1.
Most disappointing team of the season: Alpine - They didn't do terribly overall, but near the end of 2022 they were looking proper fast, though with some reliability issues to work in the off-season. For them to get passed by Aston Martin during the winter and by McLaren during the season has really exposed them. Add to that the ton of drama, mismanagement, lack of consistency from a factory team, and I really wonder what the hell they are trying to do in F1. Hell, why are they even called Alpine? Dishonorable mention to Haas for once again being nowhere, but at least they embrace their piss-poor performance whereas Alpine keeps periodically boasting about becoming competitive in an x amount of races.